Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra And S22+ Review: Ultimate Android Flagships


Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra And S22+ Software Experience, Pricing And Review Verdict

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and S22+ Software And User Experience

The Galaxy S22 series runs Samsung’s One UI 4 skin on top of Android 12. While we generally prefer the cleaner, leaner Android experience found on Google, OnePlus, and Moto’s phones, One UI 4 provides a rich set of features that will suit a wide range of users. The only significant issue we really have with Samsung’s skin is that you have to scroll horizontally to navigate the app tray, which is counter-intuitive.

Samsung’s keyboard is also a bit of an acquired taste. Then again, those niggles are easily remedied by installing a third-party launcher and keyboard, like our go-tos Nova and Gboard (the Google keyboard). Anyway, we invite you to read more about One UI 4 in our Galaxy S21 FE review. Let’s focus instead on the S22 Ultra’s S-Pen. It inherits all of the Note 20 Ultra’s features, but latency’s been lowered from 9ms to a mere 2.9ms.

Galaxy S22 Ultra 23
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra with S-Pen

For example, you can take a quick note by simply removing the S-Pen from its silo and writing on the screen while the phone is still locked. You can also control the camera remotely with the S-Pen by using various combinations of button presses and gestures. Other S-Pen functionality includes handwriting to text conversion and the ability to outline anything on the display and paste it as clip art into a note – fun (and useful).

Finally, we’re happy to report that our unlocked review units didn’t suffer from any significant bloatware. Besides Google and Samsung’s familiar apps, our S22+ was untarnished, and our S22 Ultra came with a few Microsoft apps (Office, OneDrive, and Outlook) preinstalled, plus LinkedIn and Spotify – all of which we successfully removed. Also, Samsung now offers 4 years of OS updates and 5 years of security updates. That’s great news.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and S22+ Pricing And Competition

Here in the US, all three Galaxy S22 models are available for pre-orders today and ship on Feb 25. You can purchase them from Samsung, Best Buy, and Amazon, plus all three carriers (AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon). Pricing is $799 for the S22, $999 for the S22+, and $1,199 for the S22 Ultra. But between the launch deals, trade-in offers, bring-one-get-one sales, and installment plans, it’s unlikely you’ll pay full price.

As for the competition, there aren’t any other Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 phones available in the US yet besides the S22 series. This leaves you with last year’s Android flagships – like Google’s Pixel 6 and 6 Pro ($599 and $899), and the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro (currently $599 and $799) – or Apple’s iPhone 13 series ($729 to $1099). But if you live abroad, you already have brand new flagships from Moto, Xiaomi, and Oppo/Realme to choose from.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and S22+ Final Verdict

It’s easy to be cynical and dismiss the Galaxy S22 series as the logical (and inevitable) evolution of the S21 series. After all, the S22 Ultra essentially merges a Galaxy Note 20 Ultra with the S21 Ultra’s camera system, while the S22 and S22+ only provide minor cosmetic tweaks and upgraded shooters. But that would be a short-sighted view, because ultimately, these are fantastic handsets.

Simply put, the Galaxy S22 Ultra and S22+ deliver a robust flagship experience, with premium designs, beautiful displays, superb cameras, broad 5G support, quality audio, solid performance, and amazing battery life. We still find Samsung’s software a little too heavy handed for our tastes, but that’s pretty much the only reservation we have.

And with prices starting at $999 for the Galaxy S22+ and $1,199 for the Galaxy S22 Ultra, these are expensive phones. But when you consider all the launch deals, trade-in offers, bring-one-get-one sales, and installment plans available, buying one of these becomes a no-brainer.

Galaxy S22 Plus 12
Find Samsung's Galaxy S22 Ultra and Galaxy S22+ @ Amazon.com

But there’s something else the Galaxy S22 series is revealing. For US consumers, the gap between Samsung and the Android competition is now even wider. As such, more than ever before, the US smartphone market is a two-horse race – Apple vs Samsung. Honestly, that’s kind of a bummer. So let’s hope OnePlus and Google step up their game later this year. Until then, the S22 Ultra and S22+ are the ultimate Android flagships, and deserve our Editor’s Choice award.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

hothardware editors
choice
  • It’s a refined Galaxy Note
  • Gorgeous display
  • Best-in-class shooters
  • Broad 5G support
  • Amazing battery life
  • No microSD support
  • Slightly heavy One UI Skin
  • No charger in the box

Samsung Galaxy S22+

approved hh
  • Premium design
  • Beautiful display
  • Superb cameras
  • Broad 5G support
  • Amazing battery life
  • Last year’s industrial design
  • Slightly heavy One UI Skin
  • No charger in the box


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